A study examined the extent and correlates of noncompliance in 155 predominantly elderly public housing tenants. Data were gathered through in-home interviews; only data from tenants taking prescribed medications on a regularly scheduled basis (n= 140) were analyzed. Noncompliance was significantly (p<0.05) associated with taking more than five prescribed medications, an inability to read prescription and auxiliary labels, and difficulty opening flip-off type medication container lids.
The results indicate that attempts to reduce the total number of prescription drug products used in these elderly residents by carefully scrutinizing the need for each prescription drug may enhance compliance. Pharmacists could assist in the detection of elderly patients at risk for medication noncompliance (five or more total prescription medications) by assessing the patients’ ability to read labels on prescription containers for all new drug additions and refills, and by having them try to open a flip-off container lid.